From weaves and hair color to protective styling, the choices for women who wear their hair natural these days are endless.
For many women looking to change things up a bit, a popular alternative is to wear their naturally curly, wavy or kinky locks straight. But, be warned. While the ability to change your look one day to the next offers great versatility, this kind of styling flexibility doesn’t come without its challenges.
Heat damaged hair is one of the greatest risks that women who switch between naturally curly and straight styles face. The heat needed to straighten the hair can cause breakage and, in the some extreme cases, permanently alter the curl pattern.
By taking a few precautionary measures in advance, you can get the sleek, polished results you’re looking for without damaging your naturally curly hair.
Step 1: Wash & thoroughly rinse
Clean hair will yield the best results, which is why it’s so important to wash your hair with a shampoo that’s most suited to your hair type. For instance, shampoos like Organix Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco or Pantene Smooth and Sleek with Argan oil have smoothing and heat protection properties that work well for thick, curly and frizzy hair. For dry, damaged hair, SheaMoisture’s Raw Shea sulfate-free shampoo is a good option. Be sure to rinse the shampoo from your hair completely and squeeze out any excess water.
This is one of the best ways to guard against heat damage. The purpose of a deep conditioner is to hydrate the hair and in turn improve its elasticity. Hair that is well hydrated is more apt to withstand the straightening process without increased breakage or shedding. At least once a week, try using a deep conditioner like Trader Joe’s Tea Tree conditioner, SheaMoisture’s deep conditioning masque or Miss Jessie’s Multicultural Curls moisturizer. For the girl on the go, a daily leave-in like Kinky Kurly’s Knot Today also will work well to help maintain the moisture in your hair.
After washing and deep conditioning your hair, apply a heat protectant to shield your hair from damage that can result from regular use of heat-related hair care products, like hair dryers and flat irons. In addition to protecting your hair from heat damage, Chi Straight Guard Styling Cream also helps eliminate frizz and leave your hair super shiny. Flat irons that have protective plating like gold and titanium also will help greatly reduce the risk of heat-related damage to your hair.
Are there any other tips you have for protecting your natural locks from heat damage? Let us know in the comments section below.
Quin Brewington has been a natural hair enthusiast for nearly 20 years and recently launched her own blog,SisterLadyGirl.com aimed at helping women in their 40s and beyond navigate this thing called life with style and grace.